Haggis burgers with neep and tattie chips

Haggis burger with neep and tattie chips and saladIt’s Robbie Burns Day, which marks very nearly a year since I started this blog. I hadn’t actually been planning to blog this meal, so please excuse the relative lack of pictures, but when I realized it was almost my blogiversary, I took a picture of my plate just before I dug in. Good thing too. Because my impromptu creation in honour of Rabbie Burns turned out truly delicious.

Last year, I made a modern haggis in the slow cooker, eschewing the traditional sheep’s stomach casing as well as the sheep’s heart, lungs, liver and whatever else goes into traditional haggis. This year, however, I decided to take modernizing haggis a step further. I decided to turn it into burgers. Continue reading

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Healthy banana nut flapjacks (oat bars) with optional hazelnut toffee crunch

Nutty banana oat flapjacksWhen I first came to England, I didn’t understand what a flapjack was. I thought of it as a down-home-American word for a pancake. Even once I understood what a flapjack was in England, I didn’t get for a long time what all the fuss was about (the English LOVE their flapjacks). As far as I can tell, the classic British flapjack is essentially a very sweet and buttery granola bar without all the good stuff associated with granola bars, other than oats. Little by little, however, I have come to see the potential of the British flapjack. Oat bars are almost a blank canvas, to which you can add any number of ingredients and still bake up a tasty treat. After considerable experimentation, I’ve come up with a version that’s really quite healthy.

My flapjacks are much lower in sugar and fat than the classic flapjack. They’re gluten-free and dairy-free – in fact, vegan. For added nutrition, I add a lot of nuts. Lots of banana keeps my flapjacks moist and sweet. For a quick and easy everyday snack, that’s where I stop. However, for a more decadent treat or to serve to guests, I like to add chocolate drizzle and hazelnut toffee crunch. Continue reading

The best gluten-free perogies ever

Perogy on a fork, showing fillingTo me, perogies have always tasted of home. No, I’m not Ukrainian or Polish, but I did grow up in Alberta, Canada, which has a large Ukrainian population. The perogy (AKA pyrogy, pierogy, or as I’m reliably informed by Ukrainians, varenyky) has become thoroughly part of Canadian prairie culture, so much so that Glendon, Alberta, is home to the “world’s largest pyrogy,” which I once had the pleasure of visiting (along with the world’s largest kubasa, another prairie cuisine staple with Ukrainian roots).

In any case, the ubiquity of perogies is such in Alberta that my Japanese mother regularly made them at home when I was growing up. Oh, she didn’t make them from scratch – she brought frozen Cheemo perogies (which I still remember as the best brand; cheddar was the best flavour) and served them with soy sauce. Not traditional, perhaps, but really good. Continue reading

Polvorones

Polvorones almond cookiesHappy New Year! For what’s still the holiday season, I bring you polvorones. We were recently in the Canary Islands on holiday (in quieter parts of Tenerife where we actually didn’t see any lobster-red beach sardines or drunken English louts) and I wanted to make some Spanish food for Christmas. Polvorones are a traditional Christmas treat and I thought they sounded easy enough to make in a limited holiday rental kitchen. However, the oven turned out to be malfunctioning so I ended up doing fruit and ice cream for Christmas dessert instead. Back home, however, there was nothing stopping me, so I made polvorones for New Year’s instead of Christmas. Continue reading